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Car crashes into house

March 02, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown garage employee was injured when she drove a customer's car into a brick wall across the street from the garage.

Norma Jones, 53, of Hagerstown, was moving a customer's Mazda RX8 from one of the garage bays at Rapid Lube when it accelerated and crashed into the wall of a brick apartment building at 109-113 W. Church St., the Hagerstown Police Department said in a news release.

Jones received a leg injury, and the wall and car were damaged, police said.

West Church Street was shut down for about two hours after the 3:40 p.m. accident.

Police said the crash was caused by driver error, and that Jones was unable to control the vehicle.

A Washington County Hospital spokeswoman said Jones was in the emergency room but her medical condition had not been established by Monday night.

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Wanda Voyer, the office manager at Rapid Lube, declined to comment on the incident, saying she did not know all the details. Voyer confirmed Jones was an employee.

The Mazda, owned by Michael Perdew of Hagerstown, had extensive and disabling damage, police said.

Within minutes of the crash, responders from Community Rescue Service and the Hagerstown Fire Department worked to free the woman from the car. Jones was conscious and moving her fingers and arms as the responders wheeled her stretcher toward a waiting ambulance.

Police reported no other injuries.

The investigation into the crash was ongoing, police said.

Marda Dacosta, 17, of 111 W. Church St., said the impact caused the house to shake.

"I just heard the noise and came out here and saw this," Dacosta said from her front stairs, pointing to the twisted metal on the front end of the car.

Ed Corbiser of Smithsburg said he had gone to Rapid Lube just before the crash to get his oil changed and was near that bay at the time of the incident.

"She shot out of there," Corbiser said. "It shot out of there like a cannon."

The Mazda crashed between two sets of stone stairs leading to apartments. Although the car knocked loose only a few of the stairs' bricks, it damaged the front facade of the building.

The impact caused a portion of the foundation wall to collapse into the basement, police said.

Crews from the city of Hagerstown worked late Monday afternoon to put temporary bracing into the foundation of the building, said Mike Heyser, a city building inspector.

"It should be OK until the property owner gets somebody in to do it right," Heyser said.

He said residents would not be displaced but would be without water for at least a day because of damage to the plumbing system.

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